Stories

By: Arfa Rana

As if we haven’t had enough days off from school, here comes another holiday, May 23, 2016 . What are your plans for this Victoria Day? I know that sleeping in and not getting up any earlier than you have to is every high school student’s dream, but there are lots of fun things you’re missing out on. Here, let me highlight a few.

 

  • GO OUTSIDE

 

It has been a long, dreadful winter.  And if you’re a summer person like me, you’re probably planning on moving to West Coast as soon as you get your hands on your high school diploma- do not lose faith, we’re almost there! But guess what? The weather’s (finally) getting warmer and summer is almost here; why not go outside and soak in the sun? Besides, with summatives and exams on their way, stress can be problem. But do not fret, the Sun has proven to be a good stress relief AND it improves your mood. The Sun never stays long in Canada, so take it your best advantage, Go play a sport, hang out at the park with your friends or simply just take a walk.

 

  • FINISH UP SOME WORK

 

So you’ve been complaining to anybody and everybody about the three projects you have due this week , that math test you haven’t even BEGUN studying for and the 5oo word essay that must be double spaced, font Times New Roman, size 12 on the industrial revolution due the day-after-tomorrow. If only you had an extra day… Now you have it. I won’t spend much time trying to convince that it’ll all be worth in the end, you’ll get the reward when you work for it yourself. Good luck and happy studying.

  • A NETFLIX MARATHON

(You may only proceed to read this if you have read and acted upon #2)

Who doesn’t love netflix? Netflix has over 13,300 titles of popular movies and Tv shows worldwide. So, get yourself a bag of chips, order an extra large pizza and coke  (it’s okay, it’s cheat day) and head down to the basement for a 12-hour movie/tv show marathon!

By: Catiyana Adam

Elly at age 16, instructing others on how to use a lathe.

Spending your period 5 spare listening to someone talk about history from 90 years ago? Not exactly everyone’s idea of a great Friday afternoon. But for those of us who attended Elly Gotz’s Holocaust presentation on April 15th, it wasn’t a waste of an afternoon at all.

 

Elly Gotz is a Holocaust survivor. He is also an engineer, businessman, and international traveller. By the age of 5, Elly was fluent in 4 languages, including Yiddish – a language he picked up unbeknownst to his parents, who only used it to communicate when they wanted to talk about him. He was liberated from the Dachau concentration camp at 17, and by that time he had evaded near-massacre, helped build an impenetrable factory, and secreted away dozens of books from under the watch of the Nazis. Elly’s life was not easy. His family hid in a dark basement for days to escape death, with nothing to do except plan their suicide in the event that their location was discovered. He worked grueling 12-hour shifts to construct the underground factory, and lost a dear friend in 5 feet of concrete (one of six victims who are still buried in the walls today).

 

When Elly was finally liberated from Dachau, he applied to university in Munich. He was accepted, but soon after, his family relocated to Norway – where he would add another language to his repertoire in just under 3 months. Family members secured Elly and his parents a spot in Rhodesia a year later (modern-day Zimbabwe), where he was able to complete his degree as an Electrical Engineer. There, Elly put himself at risk to advocate for the rights of black students; “I knew how cruel and misguided prejudice is… I protested as much as I could, but I was on a Visa; I had to ensure I was not expelled,” he said in a speech to students in South Africa.

 

Elly finally settled in Canada (adding another language to his belt – English) where he became a pilot, entrepreneur, and business-owner. Now he travels the world speaking out against intolerance and genocide. Although over eighty years old, Elly exudes a powerful presence on stage, evoking the horrors of the Holocaust with the grace and humour only a survivor can muster.

 

I corresponded with Elly Gotz after his presentation to ask him what his message to the youth of today is. “[I] tell the truth, again and again, in the hope that humanity will learn something from the past. Sometimes I read the papers and despair, [so] I look into your faces and hope your generation will do a better job.”

 

An eighty-year old who’s a linguist, activist, and considerably adept at email? Come on, tell me that’s not just a little bit impressive!

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By: Alyssa Matheson

As you know, we’ve hit the middle of this semester and that can only mean one thing – midterms.

Some people have been getting mark updates throughout the semester, so they have a rough idea of what their mark is going to be; for others, it can come as a complete shock.

Regardless of what your personal goals are, if you missed the mark for your midterms, don’t worry too much. Take a day to regroup and make a plan for how you’re going to handle the rest of the semester. The improving weather and soon approaching summer holidays can detract from concentration, so setting a feasible plan in motion is the key to getting back in the mark range where you want to be.

Hopefully you’ve already moved past the denial stage, and skipped the anger stage entirely. Once you hit the bargaining stage, you can make some real improvements. Talk to your teachers (they are reasonable people too), explain calmly to them where you wish your marks to be, and ask them how you can get work up to your goal – as long as you are respectful, you’ll have a shot.

Now you have to take the next step and implement your plans. To help with this, find somewhere you like to study. Maybe you like studying in a coffee shop surrounded by people, or perhaps you like the silence of a library. Wherever you choose to study, and whatever you have to do to get your grades where you want them, remember: it’s not the end of the world, or the end of the semester, we’re only halfway there.

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The Spartan Spectator congratulates our Student of Excellence, Cathleen McRitchie!

“When I found out, I was shocked, because many other people were in the running, and I was just doing what I like to do. I was honoured, and I’m still honoured.”

 

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By Bhavani Narayanan

     With Prom just around the corner, everyone is scrambling for dresses. If you’re thinking of attending the CKSS prom and planning to wear a dress, the girls of CK have put together a facebook group where they share their dresses to avoid wearing the same dress on the night of prom.

     Looking through the selected dresses, it is obvious what the popular choices are. This year’s winter colours have dominated the dresses with a surplus of dark blues, vibrant reds, and the ever classy black. Meanwhile, spring colours, such as the pastels, have been surfacing with the arrival of spring.

     There are several styles of prom dresses, as well. You have your ball gowns, your two pieces, your illusions, your short dresses, and your sleeve and sleeveless dresses. The options seem to be endless!

     With a vast selection of dresses to choose from in terms of style and material, one might ask, “How do I find the perfect dress?” And that comes with a simple answer, dear reader. A perfect dress is any dress that you feel comfortable and attractive in. Can you dance in it? Do you feel like you’ll have fun dancing in your dress? Do you love the colour and the fit? Do you just love it? If yes, then you’ve found the perfect dress!

     In the end, Prom is not about who has the best dress, or who is wearing what colour. It’s about seeing your friends and partying with them one last time before you all part ways. It’s about making the most of your last night as a Spartan, and feeling confident and attractive doing so. Whatever dress makes you feel that way is the perfect dress for you.

     Happy Prom dress shopping, Spartans!

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By: Alyssa Matheson

      St Patrick’s Day is always a big party at my house. Not only has some of my family probably come from Ireland at some point, but it is also my dad’s birthday. That morning I woke up to the sound of birds peacefully chirping outside my window, and also the blaring trill of beeps sent from my mom to wake me up in time for work. From the moment the first kid arrived at the tutoring centre for camp, there was nearly incessant chatter directed at me ranging from a high-pitch recounting of a story I had already heard the past three days, to an array of voices asking the same question within thirty seconds of each other. The peace that came when the children started to watch their movie was as short-lived as can only be expected when the students found hard-hitting questions, and completely relevant comments. I don’t blame the kids, if I had to know if a real hamster’s eyes could be that big or comment on just how funny it was that Adam Sandler got pushed into a pool, I would totally interrupt a movie and disturb the peace of my teacher who was just trying to check her Twitter feed in the few moments where she wasn’t completely responsible for the actions and productivity of kindergarteners.

      On the ride home my mother regaled me with our plans for the evening to a background chorus of rattles and creaks from our van which has come from years of being driven through our construction-riddled town. We we greeted when we arrived by a rousing Irish song (the likes of which became the soundtrack of our entire evening) and I responded in kind, singing lyrics that describe the flora and fauna found in a bog.

      That night, after a traditional Irish dinner complete with boiled vegetables, the true party began. It was filled with dancing, and giggling about missteps, and discussions ranging from T.V. shows (mainly Friday Night Lights – a show that can’t lose in my opinion,) to March Break activities, covering a range of topics with a balanced level of depth achieved through years of friendship. The comfortable conversation was far from the only sound filling the house, the quietly squeaking shoes from an abandoned March Madness game accompanied the singing of Irish songs, which eventually devolved into various genres of music which at one point prompted a cry of “This is the Arctic Monkeys you dummies!”
      The true silence after our guests left was a welcome respite from the normal cacophony of my days, which only lasted until the birds’ songs and alarm’s harsh trill shattered it once again.

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Why Your Name Should Get the Pronunciation It Deserves By: Catiyana Élanwy Adam

     A recent Facebook post opened my eyes to the discrimination many “non-white” individuals face against the most basic form of their identity; their name. While it’s often funny to hear a jittery supply teacher nervously rattle off barbaric travesties during the morning attendance, it’s not so funny when your name is mispronounced every single day. Like your appearance, heritage, and personality, your name is an integral part of your identity, something you have identified with yourself since a very young age. And when that piece of you is constantly degraded, simplified, or downright butchered by everyone around you, it becomes much easier to lose that part of you.

     People with more “difficult names” face this kind of covert discrimination every day. In an article I read, a woman named Shailee (pr. “Shuhy-lee”) described how her teachers and friends’ “anglicised” pronunciations led to an attachment of shame and embarrassment to her name, a feeling she would not shake off until well into university. By then she was introducing herself as “Shay,” a nickname that was deemed ‘cuter’ but not at all a reflection of her real name.

     I myself have received a little grief over my more “difficult” name. “Catiyana” isn’t really commonplace, so I introduce myself as “Cat” most days. My middle name, which is French, is pronounced “ay-lon-wee”. I’ve gotten several interesting versions of that over the years, the most memorable of which being when a fellow kindergartner exclaimed to my face: “Wait, your middle name is SALAMI?” Needless to say, I avoided bringing that up for years, and I’ve never quite managed to look at luncheon meats the same way.

     The truth is, some names are difficult. Some people, no matter how many times you tell them, are still going to call you Fih-tee-mah, when it’s Fat-uh-ma, and vice versa. The important thing is that you do tell them. We are human, and we are capable of learning how to pronounce a few syllables correctly. Don’t let laziness on the part of you or another shrink your name into something you are ashamed of or embarrassed about.

     Learn to respect your name, so others will too!. Like it or not, it’s going to be with you forever. (Unless, of course, you decide to change it when you’re thirty-five and in the grips of a devastating mid-life crisis – but by then, all the power to ya. I just wouldn’t recommend Élanwy as a top choice.)

By: Alyssa Matheson

     What is with this school and our dances? We have tried to throw three dances – a Halloween dance, a winter dance, and semi-formal; yet all of them have been cancelled, because we can’t scrape together enough students to buy tickets.

     Now, what might be holding us back from having all the fun that high schools in movies and T.V. shows get to have? Some concerns are that nobody’s friends are interested in going to the dances. Jessica Kennedy, a grade twelve student, said that dances “aren’t really [her] scene,” and that “none of [her] friends are interested in going, and [she doesn’t] want to go without them.” This an all-too common attitude that causes a huge lack in the number of attendees; which can easily be fixed by one friend deciding to go.

     That one friend might have chosen not to go due to the cost of our school dances, particularly the $40 semi-formal. Carole Palattao, another grade twelve student, says that the dances are “too expensive, and our school lacks the spirit which would motivate us to pay for it,” which is also a common sentiment. We will never end our streak of cancelled dances if, instead of trying to participate in school planned activities, we wallow in our lack of pride.
     Here’s hoping we can pull together enough spirit to keep our next dance from getting cancelled. If some of us go, it might actually be fun!

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By: Bhavani Narayanan

Start on January 1

The most common New Year’s resolution is “to get fit.” As January arrives, gym memberships are handed out like candy. Everyone is ready to hit the gym and walk out looking like Captain America; but, by the end of the month these memberships are tossed out like used candy wrappers. For all of you Spartans who want to “get fit,” the following are some solutions to your failed resolution!

 

Step 1: Set your definition

When you say, “fit,” what do you mean? Do you want to be able to run up and down the stairs without feeling breathless? Do you want to get through those dreaded twelve-minute runs without having to walk the whole thing?  Or, do you want to be able to lift half your weight above your head? Fit is a general word and it’s up to you to decide what your specific goal is. That way you will be more motivated to start tackling your specific goal.

 

Step 2: Set a schedule

Regardless of popular belief, you don’t have to exercise every single day. In fact, doing so increases the likelihood of getting injured. At first, include two workout days per week, giving yourself breaks in-between those days. This allows your body to adapt to your new schedule; maximize the effectiveness of this by planning your workouts around any extracurricular, family, and homework commitments.  

 

Step 3: Set a regime

This is where a gym membership can come into play. You’ll need to learn how to exercise in a way that is both safe for your body and focuses on what you want to work on. A fitness trainer is ideal for those new to working out, especially if you haven’t been to a gym before. Your trainer will know what’s best for you, and will teach you how to exercise safely.

 

Step 4: Reset your schedule every month or two

Push yourself to workout harder once your body is used to working out twice a week. Try to slip in a third workout day and consult your trainer if you plan on changing it. Your fitness trainer is most likely more educated regarding strength training, so it’s better to heed their advice about how far to push your body.

 

Step 5: Relax

Assign yourself days to relax, unwind, and indulge in the simple pleasures of life. Just because you’re exercising, doesn’t mean that you can’t occasionally eat chocolate. And remember: a bubblebath never hurt anyone! It’s important to know your body and to stop when you need to. Taking a week off from working out is better than hurting yourself and never working out again!

 

Step 6: Have fun

Exercising should become a  part of your normal routine, so take the opportunity to have fun with it and make it something you love! If you like reading, try audible.com – that way, you can run AND “read” (because you’ll be listening to a book read to you)! Audiobooks are a runner’s best friend, and when you sign up for audible, you’ll get your first book free!

Do you like music? Pop in your headphones and lift to your favourite songs! 8tracks.com features hundreds of workout playlists that are sure to get you pumped up for your workout.

 

While you might be a tad pessimistic after 2015, this guide should lead you through the start of 2016 feeling confident and more organized. Happy New Year, Spartans!

Let’s work it out.

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By: Catiyana Adam

January can be one of the busiest months of the year. With summatives, exams, university applications, course selections, tests, and projects crowding our minds, it’s unsurprising that most of us fall victim to stress! But what is stress? Why should you avoid it? And… HOW can you avoid it?

 

Not all stress is bad. “Eustress” is the technical term for stress that is beneficial – it helps you react and adapt to changing situations. It’s that slight panic that convinces you to get started on your homework before 9pm, or the nervousness about a presentation that prompts you to practice just one more time.

 

Chronic stress, however, is bad. When our bodies perceive a situation to be life-threatening, our flight-or-fight response kicks in. Your body readies your muscles for action, speeds up your breathing and heart rate, represses any inessential processes (such as digestion or immune response) and tells your kidneys to retain water. But sometimes our body mistakes stressful situations, like a test or a presentation, as life-threatening. When stressors like this trigger a fight-or-flight response on a daily basis, you can just imagine the long term effects! Water retention leads to high blood pressure, a lowered immune system renders you susceptible to illness, and other disorders – such as heart disease and depression – become far more common.

 

Reduce stress! Anticipate stressful situations and prepare for them as best as you can. Recognize the conversation happening between your brain and nerve impulses, and slowly you will begin to decode the stimulants that signify a panic attack. The better you get at this, the quicker you will be able to trigger your “rest-and-digest” responses by command.

 

Remember: stress is as physiological as it is mental. You CAN be in control!

GOOD LUCK as first semester comes to a close!

You got this!